Peterborough United’s 2-2 Checkatrade Trophy draw with Brighton under 21s at the ABAX Stadium tonight (October 9) again highlighted the team’s defensive shortcomings.
It’s now eight competitive matches in a row Posh have conceded a least twice. They have kept just one clean sheet all season, a 1-0 win at Charlton on August 21.
Posh led 2-0 through goals from strikers Matt Godden and Jason Cummings going into the final 20 minutes tonight, but conceded two goals described as ‘badly defended’ by assistant manager Paul Raynor. Posh fielded their regular first-team back four and goalkeeper.
Posh went on to lose a penalty shootout in for the second time in the Checkatrade Trophy this season, but progress in the competition is very much in their own hands. A win in their final group game at home to already qualified Luton next month would most likely see Posh through to the knockout stages.
“It’s a disappointing result for us,” Raynor stated. “We were far from scintillating, but we were comfortable at 2-0 up. Brighton have a lot of technically gifted players, but they weren’t hurting us and we stepped our intensity up in the second-half so well we looked like winning comfortably.
“But we’ve given the ball away cheaply and then let a right-footed player turn inside and score to give them hope and then we’ve let a cross come in and not bothered to mark someone six yards from goal at the far post.
“We defended both goals badly and it’s happening too often now. We can’t keep having to score three or four goals to win games.
“Goals are scored against us too easily. Our players don’t get free headers at the far post.
“We will always score goals because of the attacking quality we have and that was evident again tonight, but I am more concerned that we can’t keep a clean sheet.
“We didn’t actually have many defensive options tonight, but we saw it as a great chance for a clean sheet.
“It’s not just a problem for the back four either. It’s a team thing. Individual errors are hurting us. A lack of concentration is hurting us. Some players are playing too adventurously. We need to do the basics right like stopping crosses coming in and marking players beter in the penalty area. We have to have a better shape when we turn the ball over. We simply have to do much better and win more of our individual battles.
“We are working hard on it and hopefully it will come right for us at Scunthorpe on Saturday. We don’t have many options at the moment, but shuffling the pack is an option if those on the fringes of the side can step up and make us pick them.”
Goalkeeper Conor O’malley and left-back Tyler Denton missed tonight’s match because of injury, while centre-back Josh Yorwerth and winger Marcus Maddison were both ill.
Skipper Alex Woodyard was rested ahead of the weekend’s League One game at Scunthorpe (October 13).